Thursday, August 25, 2005
- Big computingX: the University of Chicago has just received a sizeable ($48 million) five-year NSF grant...
...to operate and expand TeraGrid, a national-scale system of interconnected computers that scientists and engineers are using to solve some of their most challenging problems. The NSF has concurrently granted another $100 million to the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory and seven other institutions to provide computational, storage, instrument and visualization resources that make up the TeraGrid, along with user support and related services.
TeraGrid is the world’s largest open computer, storage and networking system. Only the U.S. Department of Energy’s weapons laboratories have larger systems, which are dedicated to classified research. One way that TeraGrid is measured is in teraflops—the total number of mathematical operations that can be done in one second, [Charlie Catlett, a Senior Fellow in the Computation Institute] said. Currently, the TeraGrid’s power is just over 60 teraflops. If each of the 300 million people in the United States were to do one calculation per second, it would take them roughly 55 hours to compute as much as the TeraGrid can compute in one second.
- When is a bird in hand worth a startling number in the bush? Today, while surfing for information on suitable electric guitars to accompany my dumpster amplifier, I stumbled upon this rather unique one-stringed musical instrument - the Specimen® (a boutique luthier in Chicago) Moule Bird.
"One of the glandularly-themed Specimens, the Moule Bird was inspired by careful consideration of some of life's rudest musculatures. Those musings are manifested here in a fretless single-string electric instrument. Bowed or plucked, this instrument fits into your hand like a bird."It's quite small - the website shows the Moule Bird being played held in a single hand. To be honest, to my eyes the Moule Bird looks more like a fish than a bird; but then, fish don't sing, do they? It also reminds me of a variation on the Chinese erhu.
- A clever concept in subway hygiene: "Avoid commuter cooties by bringing your own transit strap" Then again, if you're that concerned about germs, you'd probably want to avoid public transit altogether - think of all the unspeakable microbes you bring home, by transfer onto the seat of your pants! Maybe we should bring back the custom of all-season glove wearing, or face masks? [via Boing Boing]
- The Milkboy Saga from Sports Illustrated.com:
The Marlins suspended [an] unidentified batboy for six games after he accepted [a] challenge set by Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny on Sunday to drink a gallon of milk in less than an hour without throwing up. Penny had offered $500 and his teammates raised the ante to $1,000; the batboy was able to finish the milk in time but couldn't keep it, well, bottled up. When word of the dare spread, the Marlins suspended the batboy for an upcoming six-game home stand. That has upset Penny, a Marlin from 2000 through the middle of last season. "It's kind of ridiculous that you get a 10-game suspension for steroids and a six-game suspension for milk," Penny said.